VVS, Dravid and the Wonder of Eden

Eden Gardens was to have been Australia's theatre of dreams. Instead, it became their worst nightmare. The Australians were gracious enough to acknowledge that they had been laid asunder by a once-in-a-lifetime performance, but you could see that they were gutted. To their credit, they didn't carp or nitpick about a couple of questionable umpiring calls on the final day, nor did they offer any such fantastic excuse like the English.

updated: March 21, 2013 16:03 IST
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It's 12 years to the day, but it seems as if it was only yesterday that Harbhajan Singh trapped Glenn McGrath in front to signal the end of one of the most fascinating Test matches ever. India have played host to some dramatic games, including only the second tie in the history of Test cricket, but for sheer drama, emotion and bouncebackability, the Test at the Eden Gardens in 2001 will remain unparalleled.

Even in isolation, India's sensational 171-run triumph was memorable. Having conceded 445 to Australia despite Harbhajan's hat-trick, the first by an Indian in Tests, India were rolled over for 171, and promptly asked to follow on by Steve Waugh. To come back from the dead, as it were, and fashion the most extraordinary turnaround will go down as a seminal moment in Indian, indeed world, cricket.

For a day and a bit, the Aussies just couldn't get VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid out. They tried everything at their disposal – and they had the resources, make no mistake – but the new No. 3 and the man with whom he swapped places, as Dravid dropped down to No. 6, thwarted every design, gradually transforming themselves from the hunted to the hunters, and doing it with a grace, felicity and dexterity that gradually demoralised Australia.

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